Jeremy Harding writes:
Debray was born in 1940. He has been many things but not, until the 1990s, a writer of distinction. ‘I wanted to earn a living by the pen,’ he wrote in the first volume of his three-volume memoir. ‘I didn’t know that writing is a job and that every intervention by an editor involves a small surrender of the soul.’ He had the self-regard of the incorrigible scribbler, then, but not much else, and it was Althusser, apparently, who dissuaded him from a purely literary career. Yet Praised Be Our Lords, volume two of the memoir, is a great book. Fluent, witty, argumentative for sure, deeply ‘literary’ in the best sense, but also a work of strategic depth that draws us fully into the world of power and politics, and the characters of powerful men.